How to make marbled paper at home. It is a little-known and somewhat obscure technique: many people wonder how it is made and the necessary tools to experiment with it even at home. In the guide you are about to read, we will explain how to decorate the paper with the marbling technique, using some of the Liquitex colors and mediums you can find in our catalog.
Warning: what you will find in this guide is a homemade and straightforward method to try marbling in a not too complicated way. It is not precisely the method used by professionals who use specific products and have their “secrets.” However, although this is a beginner’s guide, it will allow you to get an exciting result and do your first tests!
Brief mention of marbling
Marbling is a fascinating decorative technique. It consists of immersing sheets of paper in a specially prepared solution, in which the colors we have chosen float. This preparation is made denser by adding special binders such as soluble natural gums. The effect obtained on the paper, once drying is complete, remembers the stains present on the marble. Hence the name “marbling.”
We process the paper for marbling and prepare the solution
Marbling is a technique that tends to get very dirty, especially if you try it for the first time. So prepare your workstation, make sure you have enough space and an “easy” path to reach the sink if necessary! The first thing to do is to treat the paper with aluminum sulfate to make it suitable for holding the paint permanently. This step isn’t mandatory, but some people recommend it. There are various methods to fix the paper with ALUM (Aluminum Sulphate). For example, you can dissolve a small amount in a water basin to place the sheet on top.
Also Read: landscape drawing
Remember NOT to immerse the sheet completely, but only wet one of the two sides. If possible, make a pencil mark on the side that you will not treat with the sulfate to recognize later. Usually, the card should use within 4 days of treatment for best results. The second thing to do is to prepare the solution in which the paint will float and through which we will go to marbling our sheets.
This preparation requires the use of a thickener, such as methylcellulose. If on the thickener you have purchased there are instructions to follow to prepare the solution, we recommend that you read them carefully to adjust the quantities. Alternatively, you can use wallpaper to mix with warm water. The ratio is about 1 tablespoon of powdered glue per liter of water. Mix the solution well to dissolve the glue completely.
Which card to use?
The best paper to use for your marbling work depends on various factors: what will you do with the sheet once it is marbled? A collage, a painting, postcards, a book cover? Depending on the flexibility you need, choose thicker or thinner paper. In general, cotton fiber works very well because it is absorbent and resists water without falling apart. It is vital as the paper will need to withstand some “manipulation” without breaking.
Try the liquid solution
We have to prove that our solution, to which we added thickeners, has been prepared correctly. To do this test, we have to check that the colors remain on the surface without going to the bottom. Otherwise, we will not be able to create the classic designs typical of marbling. To do this test, you can use a small plastic tray, even negligible, in which you will add a few drops of color. Don’t pour all your solutions!
By doing this, if you notice that it is not thick enough, you can always correct it by adding more thickener, and you will not have to do it all over again! As for the colors: each pigment has unique properties and will spread differently on the water’s surface. We recommend using Ink liquid acrylics, which are much pigmented. In addition, add a few drops of airbrush medium to the color if you see that once in contact with water, it tends to lighten too much and does not remain “compact.”
The floating colors
Here we are. Let’s start floating the colors in the marbling tray. Gently drop drops of color onto the surface of the liquid solution. Each slide will create a “little puddle” or “cell” effect. You can add more color in the same spot to increase its intensity, so it doesn’t come out too light.
Add other colors by dropping them inside or next to the previous stain. The colors will remain separate and will not mix, creating lots of “color bubbles” on the surface. Of course, the order in which you drop the drops of color will determine the final result. To get even more special effects, you can use a flat brush or brush with a particular shape (even fan or silicone) to spread the color randomly and create new forms, just as you see in the photo.
Designing the drawing on the water
Once all the colors are floating on the surface of the water, it’s time to make some noise. No, I’m kidding! No mess, but we have to make the color move and create new designs and patterns.
Using toothpicks, a comb, or a small rake, we can drag the color to create new textures. Using something regular with lots of teeth, like a comb, you can create a smoother pattern. Instead, using a toothpick or a single stick, you will give shapes and a different direction from time to time.
Apply the paint to the paper
Here we are, does the drawing you created on the water satisfy you? Now we must proceed to immerse the paper that we have dealt with earlier. Take the paper and place it on the surface of the water. The part of the sheet in contact with the color must be the one treated.
Lifting the paper
The moment of lifting the sheet from the tray is the most complicated. There are various techniques and schools of thought here. For example, some people gently slide the paper against the basin’s edge to remove excess paint.
Also Read: Horadam Super Granulated watercolors